On our recent Remedy Mission X in Fallujah, we were privileged to work alongside Drs. Kirk and Kim Milhoan. Dr. Kirk, one of the most traveled and experienced cardiologists in the world, brought a team of 6 Americans to Fallujah last week and provided 12 Iraqi children with an operation—it was an incredible success! We had such a great time working with the team that we’ve asked them to share a little about their experience, and Dr. Kim Milhoan has graciously obliged. Keep reading below...
So, I’d be absolutely lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about this trip. Everyone who reads my writing prior to this trip knows that I spent the week really asking God for what He is trying to teach me. And often I find the lesson is very different from what I thought it would be.
By the time I arrived in Fallujah, I was actually excited for the honor and opportunity to step out in faith. In my mind, this had never been required of me to this level, where I truly thought my personal security and safely could be at risk. Here comes the part where I absolutely praise our Fallujan hosts: they have gone out of their way to protect us with constant armed guards, armored vehicles, etc. I never felt unsafe.
I believe that all of man’s defenses are ultimately penetrable, but they did everything in their power to keep us safe. They were gracious, welcoming, generous, and concerned for our every need and comfort. I could relax. And, as strange as it might seem, this confused me. I was actually looking forward to a difficult week of utter reliance on God. I realized how quickly I can revert to reliance on man.
The same is true in our care for the children. We’ve done this a lot. We’ve gotten good at making the best of less-than-ideal-circumstances. Once again, I began to rely on my skills or supplies rather than on God’s provision. So if I wasn’t exercising utter reliance on the Lord for safety or for patient outcomes, I was at least being a good witness for the Lord in whom I believe. It's like the bible says, “they will know we are Christians by our love.”
We can laugh as a team because we’ve been doing this together so long that we know each other’s idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, and hot buttons. I’m sure mine are quite evident to my teammates. After we finished our five days of twelve caths and all the children were doing well, we were treated to a trip to the province Governor’s house late one evening. What an amazing caravan we were part of, absolutely impossible to describe! On the way home I was reflecting on all these things. I was disappointed in myself for not relying on the Lord like I wanted, for not praying without ceasing like I thought I should, and for failing to let His light shine through me. Then one of my favorite verses in the Bible (Injil) came to mind:
But we have this treasure in plain, earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.
It brought tears to my eyes. It’s not about me. I’m so “earthen” and limited, and so I fail. But the power to heal and love is God’s, not mine—thank God!
Once again I’m astounded by the freedoms I enjoy. No one chooses the country they're born in. I was born into opportunity and choice. I’ve been given the gift of privilege and position. I can choose to be courageous and go and visit and hopefully help, serve, love, and encourage those who find themselves in completely different circumstances not of their choosing.
I pray we have the opportunity to bless and be blessed by the Fallujan people many more times to come.
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